BookPDF Available

Clovis Technology

Authors:
Book

Clovis Technology

Abstract

This book presents a detailed study of the lithic technology and the bone, antler, and ivory tool technology of the Clovis Paleoindian culture. It is abundantly illustrated with drawings and photographs of tools and the by-products of their manufacture, typical for this distinctive, very early period of human occupation of the United States.
A preview of the PDF is not available
... There has been considerable effort to understand Paleoindian stone technology (e.g., Bradley, Collins, and Hemmings 2010;Smallwood and Jennings 2015;Waters et al. 2011a). However, Paleoindian osseous (bone, antler, and ivory) technology is poorly represented in the archaeological record so it is not as well understood, perhaps due to preservation factors rather than being rare in Paleoindian tool kits (Bradley and Stanford 2004, 462;Bradley, Collins, and Hemmings 2010, 114). ...
... Paleoindian osseous technology consists of a variety of categories, including engraved bone artifacts possibly representing art (Gingerich 2009), bone "shaft straighteners" (Hopkins 1991, 37, figure 3;Haynes and Huckell 2007), bone eyed needles thought to reflect the production of tailored clothing for cold environments (Osborn 2014), harpoons (Dansie and Jerrems 2004), bone and ivory rods, and a variety of other items and tools (e.g., Bradley and Stanford 2004, 462; Paleoindian-aged osseous rods, generally interpreted as foreshafts for projectile points, have been found in various contexts across North America. These artifacts have been the subject of a number of studies (e.g., Bradley 1995;Bradley, Collins, and Hemmings 2010;Moore and Schmidt 2009;O'Brien et al. 2016;Pearson 1999;Tankersley 2004), research made difficult by poor field accounts, inadequate and often conflicting classifications and descriptions, and a paucity of research on use-wear (but see Meatte 2013), manufacturing trajectories, or maintenance practices (Moore and Schmidt 2009, 58, 61). In addition, there has been a plethora of ideas regarding the function of such artifacts, virtually all speculative. ...
... Thus, the variety of proposed functions has been mostly based on conjecture or experimental studies. Thorough reviews of proposed functions were provided by Bradley, Collins, and Hemmings (2010) and O'Brien et al. (2016), so these ideas are only briefly discussed below. Complicating any agreement on function is a lack of consistent reporting of attributes, particularly those of bevel length and angle (O'Brien et al. 2016, 225, 232). ...
Article
Paleoindian osseous technology includes a number of artifact categories, including at least four types of “rods” (straight uni-beveled, straight bi-beveled, curved uni-beveled, and bi-pointed). An analysis of the distribution and dating of known examples of such artifacts from contexts across North America leads to the proposal that osseous rod technology was first developed by Clovis-era people; that the bi-beveled type was confined to Clovis times, that the two uni-beveled types were retained in later Paleoindian tool kits, and that the bi-pointed type was used primarily in late Paleoindian times. A number of different functions of these artifacts have been proposed, the bi-beveled type most often as foreshafts and the uni-beveled types most often as projectile points. Other proposed functions include prybars, hafting wedges, flaking tools, or components of composite fishing spears, an idea expanded on here.
... 5,22-29 Given the lack of fluted projectile points in the Old World, Clovis points undoubtedly emerged in the New World, indicating the presence of at least a small population 30-33 that was responsible for inventing and then spreading the points and other components of the Clovis techno-complex. 34 Exactly how that occurred is open to debate. The Clovis techno-complex dates ca. ...
... 43 Regardless of the beginning and ending dates of the Clovis techno-complex, it represents the first widespread cultural manifestation south of the ice sheets. 2,29,31,34,38,[44][45][46][47][48] The picture that is emerging has groups entering western North America south of the ice sheets and swapping their Arctic-based tool complex for the developing Clovis technology, which was adapted to an entirely different environment. 30 How much of the complex spread among existing populations and how much of it spread through eastward-and southward-moving groups of Clovis "inventors" is presently unknown, although our assessment of the data indicates that the latter played a significant role in the spread of the techno-complex during an exploratory period. ...
... 42 What about technological aspects of point production that do not influence variation in shape? Several researchers have proposed that Clovis points were made with similar production techniques, irrespective of geographic locality, 34,72,73 but only recently has this proposal been subjected to quantitative analysis. One study 48 found shared aspects of Clovis technology across the southeastern United States. ...
Article
The timing of the earliest colonization of North America is debatable, but what is not at issue is the point of origin of the early colonists: Humans entered the continent from Beringia and then made their way south along or near the Pacific Coast and/or through a corridor that ran between the Cordilleran and Laurentide ice sheets in western North America. At some point, they abandoned their Arctic-based tool complex for one more adapted to an entirely different environment. That new techno-complex is termed "Clovis"; its dispersal allows us to examine, at a fine scale, how colonization processes played out across a vast continent that at the time had, at best, a very small resident population. Clovis has figured prominently in American archeology since the first Clovis points were identified in eastern New Mexico in the 1930s. However, the successful marriage of learning models grounded in evolutionary theory and modern analytical methods that began roughly a decade ago has begun to pay significant dividends in terms of what we know about the rapid spread of human groups across the last sizable landmass to witness human occupation.
... 11,000 BCE), Clovis people introduced from Eurasia into the New World a culture reflective of their Paleolithic homelands. Archaeological evidence indicates that these cold-adapted groups employed "hard" technologies for making lithic and osseous utensils and "soft" technologies for textiles, basketry, and cordage (Bradley, Collins, & Hemmings, 2010). Animal remains and environmental information at some sites, combined with artifacts, suggest that Clovis people were organized into egalitarian nuclear families and bands; that they followed a nomadic lifestyle, which included hunting mammoth and other large game; and that they gathered wild foods seasonally (Boldurian & Cotter, 1999;Neusius & Gross, 2013). ...
... Finally, there are questions about the distinctive character of Clovis blades. Since Clovis groups were not the only prehistoric peoples of the New World to make blades, to what extent are certain blades in their overall shape and design indicative of "Clovis" (Bradley et al., 2010;Collins, 1999;Haag, Bergman, & Carr, 2014)? Like fluted points, may prismatic blades be considered diagnostic artifacts of Clovis culture? ...
... The archaeological value of Clovis blades as diagnostic artifacts is an open question (Bradley et al., 2010;Gramly, 2013;Green, 1963;Haag et al., 2014;Meltzer & Cooper, 2006). Some analysts believe that the ensemble of features which typify Clovis blades is sufficient to render them as truly diagnostic (Collins, 1999). ...
Article
Full-text available
... The earliest well-documented hunter-gatherers in North America were Clovis peoples (Anderson, 1990;Anderson and Gillam, 2000;Barton et al., 2004;Bradley et al., 2010;Haynes, 2002;Meltzer, 2009;Sanchez et al., 2014;Sholts et al., 2012;Smallwood, 2012;Smallwood and Jennings, 2014), who lived ca. 13,500-12,800 calendar years be- fore present (calBP) in the American West and Southwest and ca. ...
... Recent analyses of non- weaponry implements (e.g., endscrapers, sidescrapers, spurs) used by Clovis groups have supported this inference ( Andrews et al., 2015;Eren, 2013;Loebel, 2013). It has long been presumed that Clovis points were also designed for long use lives ( Bradley et al., 2010;Cox, 1986;Gramly, 1984;Gramly and Funk, 1990;Haynes, 1980;Kelly and Todd, 1988;Shott, 2013;Stanford and Bradley, 2012), the common assumption being that Clovis points were resharpened multiple times until they be- came useless as weapon tips. ...
... At these base camps, Clovis flintknappers carried out extensive tool manufacture, including point production. Gardner suggested that points made and lost or discarded near the outcrop would be more representa- tive of the "classic" Clovis point: bifacially flaked and having parallel to slightly convex sides, a concave base, and a series of flake-removal scars-termed "flutes"-on one or both faces that extend from the base to about a third of the way to the tip (Bradley, 1993;Bradley et al., 2010;Wormington, 1957). As foragers moved away from chert out- crops on hunting trips, they used and resharpened points, which even- tually were discarded at kill sites and hunting camps or simply lost. ...
... While hints of technological variability in the Clovis record are emerging (Morrow, 1995), standard descriptions of Clovis technology remain based on sites on the Plains and in the West (Bradley et al., 2010;Collins, 2007). Data from a variety of sites in different areas of the continent are needed to fully understand the "fabric" of Clovis technology and behavior. ...
... Flintknappers at Topper employed distinctive techniques of Clovis biface production, similar to those at other Clovis sites (Bradley et al., 2010;Collins and Hemmings, 2005;Collins et al., 2007;Dickens, 2005;Morrow, 1995;Waters et al., submitted for publication). Bifaces were produced on nodules and spalls of ACP chert, and about 32% of bifaces retained evidence of the original spall surface. ...
... Second, smaller point production may relate to a functional difference between points crafted for spearing versus throwing (Ellis et al., 1998), but experimental studies demonstrate there is no correlation with projectile point form and mechanism of launching, because point mass can be balanced by adjustments in the spear or foreshaft (Cattelain, 1997;Ellis, 2004;Greaves, 1997;Yu, 2006). A third possibility is that small preforms are the products of novice knappers (Bamforth and Hicks, 2008;Bradley et al., 2010). In the Topper case, however, the quantity of small preforms, coupled with the regular use of expert thinning techniques, suggests that the Topper preforms were made by experienced knappers, not novices. ...
Article
a b s t r a c t The Topper site in the South Atlantic Coastal Plain of South Carolina provides a rare glimpse of the entire range of Clovis tool manufacture. Topper is a quarry-related site along the Savannah River with an outcrop of Coastal Plain chert and a buried Clovis component. This paper focuses on the 174 bifaces and diagnostic debitage from recent excavations to understand biface production at Topper. I present the process of manufacture then measure the variation in production characteristics at the site in terms of our current knowledge of Clovis biface technology. I conclude that Topper flintknappers used reduction strategies typical of Clovis-period tool production but created a biface assemblage with greater flexibility in design than documented at most other Clovis sites. This variation in biface production suggests greater variability in Clovis behavior across AmericadClovis groups adapted to local resource conditions and adjusted the organization of their technology accordingly.
... Most studies have suggested that Clovis groups engaged in social learning of one kind or another, which for graphic purposes puts them in the eastern half of the map in Fig. 2. Hamilton and Buchanan's (2009) study, for example, found that (a) point size decreased through space and time, which follows predictions of the copy-error model, and (b) that variance in point size was statistically constant over time, which is consistent with biased-learning practices. Their reasoning for the standardization was that Clovis projectile-point technology is complex and would have required a significant amount of investment of time to learn effectively (Crabtree 1966;Whittaker 2004;Bradley et al. 2010). They proposed that under such conditions there likely was considerable variation in skill level (Henrich 2004(Henrich , 2006Bentley and O'Brien 2011)-one does not become a flintknapper, let alone an accomplished one, overnight (Pigeot 1990;Olausson 2008;Eren et al. 2011a, b)-such that recognized craftsmen could have held considerable prestige (Hamilton 2008). ...
... Most studies have suggested that Clovis groups engaged in social learning of one kind or another, which for graphic purposes puts them in the eastern half of the map in Fig. 2. Hamilton and Buchanan's (2009) study, for example, found that (a) point size decreased through space and time, which follows predictions of the copy-error model, and (b) that variance in point size was statistically constant over time, which is consistent with biased-learning practices. Their reasoning for the standardization was that Clovis projectile-point technology is complex and would have required a significant amount of investment of time to learn effectively (Crabtree 1966;Whittaker 2004;Bradley et al. 2010). They proposed that under such conditions there likely was considerable variation in skill level (Henrich 2004(Henrich , 2006Bentley and O'Brien 2011)-one does not become a flintknapper, let alone an accomplished one, overnight (Pigeot 1990;Olausson 2008;Eren et al. 2011a, b)-such that recognized craftsmen could have held considerable prestige (Hamilton 2008). ...
Article
Full-text available
Tool design is a cultural trait—a term long used in anthropology as a unit of transmittable information that encodes particular behavioral characteristics of individuals or groups. After they are transmitted, cultural traits serve as units of replication in that they can be modified as part of a cultural repertoire through processes such as recombination, loss, or partial alteration. Artifacts and other components of the archaeological record serve as proxies for studying the transmission (and modification) of cultural traits, provided there is analytical clarity in defining and measuring whatever it is that is being transmitted. Our interest here is in tool design, and we illustrate how to create analytical units that allow us to map tool-design space and to begin to understand how that space was used at different points in time. We first introduce the concept of fitness landscape and impose a model of cultural learning over it, then turn to four methods that are useful for the analysis of design space: paradigmatic classification, phylogenetic analysis, distance graphs, and geometric morphometrics. Each method builds on the others in logical fashion, which allows creation of testable hypotheses concerning cultural transmission and the evolutionary processes that shape it, including invention (mutation), selection, and drift. For examples, we turn to several case studies that focus on Early Paleoindian–period projectile points from eastern North America, the earliest widespread and currently recognizable remains of hunter–gatherers in late Pleistocene North America.
Article
The karstic Aucilla River of Northwest Florida is renowned for its well‐preserved late Pleistocene cultural material and Rancholabrean fauna. Much of this material was recovered by avocational SCUBA divers from displaced contexts in mid‐channel sinkholes, but underwater excavations into sediment banks on sink margins have demonstrated that faunal material and early artifacts can be recovered in situ from inundated terrestrial strata that contain dateable organics and microfossils useful for paleoenvironmental reconstructions. Underwater environmental data document the transition of Aucilla River localities from isolated spring‐fed ponds into an inter‐connected fluvial system due to rising sea levels and climate amelioration with several major periods of sinkhole infilling during the late Quaternary. Late Pleistocene components on land are largely absent or are undateable; these components, located in a subtropical cypress swamp in shallow clay‐rich soils, tend to be less well‐preserved, but still contain a rich record of human use on the landscape. The karstic Aucilla River of Northwest Florida is renowned for its well‐preserved late Pleistocene cultural material and Rancholabrean fauna. Underwater excavations into sediment banks on sink margins have demonstrated that faunal material and early artifacts can be recovered in situ from inundated terrestrial strata that contain dateable organics and microfossils useful for paleoenvironmental reconstructions. Underwater environmental data document the transition of Aucilla River localities from isolated spring‐fed ponds into an inter‐connected fluvial system due to rising sea levels and climate amelioration with several major periods of sinkhole infilling during the late Quaternary.
Article
For decades, archaeologists have wondered whether the Clovis Palaeoindian (c.11 600–10 800 radiocarbon years bp) practice of ‘fluting’, a flake removal technique that creates a distinctive shallow channel extending from the base of the projectile point towards the tip, bestowed a functional advantage over non‐fluted projectile points. Using analytical modelling and static engineering experiments, Thomas et al. (2017) found that points that more effectively redistribute stress and relocate damage can absorb significantly more energy, last longer and remain intact relative to points that do not experience these phenomena. In general, stress redistribution and damage relocation is significantly more likely to occur in fluted points, as opposed to non‐fluted points, suggesting that fluting acts as a ‘shock absorber’. Here, we present a comparative quantitative assessment of breakage patterns between Thomas et al.’s (2017) experimental points that shows those experiencing stress redistribution and damage relocation were also able to significantly better resist breakage, and to incur non‐catastrophic breaks, than points that less effectively redistribute stress and relocate damage. This more beneficial breakage pattern explains the material advantages provided by stress redistribution and damage relocation, and hence the potential motivation for fluting. This does not preclude the possibility that the process of fluting was accorded significance beyond its possible utilitarian value. Additional tests will be necessary to further resolve the ‘shock‐absorbing’ capabilities of fluting.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.